Stacious defends her ‘Jamaican Spirit’

July 26, 2021

Newly crowned Jamaica Festival Song winner, Stacious, did not imagine that her song, Jamaican Spirit, would be faced with so much criticism, for having a different sound, lyrics and direction to previous entries. But she has an answer for the naysayers.

"I am sure I am not the only person who was tired of hearing about ackee and breadfruit or the beaches everywhere; that's why for the last five to 10 years, I couldn't remember who won, until Buju [Banton] took the win last year," Stacious told THE STAR.

"All the competition says it requires, is for the participant to be Jamaican, and for the song to celebrate us as a people, or motivates and spread culture (though not the exact wording), that was the general idea. They are not even looking for artistes or talents, but looking for a song and there is nowhere in the rules that says the song entry has to be ska-based," she continued.

The dancehall recording artiste says since the competition's inception in 1966, "almost every year the contestants target the sound the competition started with" -- Ska and mento.

She said "I want people to understand that as the time and music evolve, the competition has to evolve as well. When the competition started, it wouldn't have heard dancehall because it was never popular back then. And to those that say it doesn't sound cultural, Bam Bam, by the Maytals, was about a rebellious Jamaican. Cherry Oh Baby [by Eric Donaldson] was a love song -- they never talked about ackee or the beach. I see a lot of people saying Jamaican Spirit is not talking about Jamaica...but think deeply about our culture and the spirit of the people. I think Toots' Rise Up was one that was similar to mine."

Stacious, the fourth female winner in the 55-year history of the competition, walked away the title along with a trophy and $3 million cash at last Thursday's grand final. The singjay is hoping that her win will show other entertainers that the festival song does not have to fit the mold of past entries and that adding more personality to the lyrics can make it a hit.

"I am happy to be written down in history with the very few women who have won, and, hopefully, it has inspired other females and other artistes to step outside the box. I want people in and looking at the music industry to not look at the past alone but bring a little bit of individuality to the competition. I think quite a few previously entered tracks and winning songs never had anything to do with the land and the activities," she said.

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